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Sandwiched between conductor , left, and pianist Thomas Pandolfi, Polo Piatti takes a bow following the world premiere of his new piano work.

Sandwiched between conductor Daniel W Boothe, left, and pianist Thomas Pandolfi, Polo Piatti takes a bow following the world premiere of his new piano work.

Standing ovation for world premiere of Piatti’s piano work

Hastings-based composer Polo Piatti in conversation with HOT’s music correspondent Brian Hick after receiving a standing ovation at the world premiere of his new piano work.

“I live a bohemian life”, Polo joked as we came to the end of our conversation about the world premiere of his Bohemian Piano Concerto. For a composer based in Hastings, his international reputation is growing rapidly, and his new piano concerto was given its world premiere in Sandler’s Centre for the Performing Arts Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, in mid-October.

“I was very fortunate to have such wonderful musicians playing for me. International pianist Thomas Pandolfi was completely committed to the work, as was conductor Maestro Daniel W Boothe and all the members of the Symphonicity Symphony Orchestra.

“They took some risk with the programming. In the first half they had played Stokowski’s arrangement of Bach’s D minor Toccata and Fugue – made famous in Fantasia followed by Haydn’s Symphony No19. Normally, programme planners would insert any new work as the filling in the sandwich but they took the risk with my concerto making it the whole of the second half.

“Thankfully their confidence was absolutely justified by the reception from the audience. The near full auditorium are used to European conventions over applause so had not done so between movements of the Haydn Symphony. However, with the Bohemian Concerto, they clapped spontaneously after each movement and gave us a standing ovation at the end. I was amazed. Though I was convinced the concerto would be well received, as it had gone down well in rehearsals, I really did not expect the audience to be quite so enthusiastic. It was wonderful.

“Talking to listeners after the event it was obvious that they had been delighted not only with the superb musicianship but also the concerto itself. Given that this was the first time I had had a major work premiered in the USA it was a very emotional moment for all of us and far more than that I had dared to hope for.”

Recordings are in the pipeline as are other performances of the concerto. Over twenty international pianists have now expressed serious interest in performing the concerto and there is growing interest across a wide number of venues.

Thomas Pandolfi plays Piatti's Bohemian Piano Concerto, accompanied by the Symphonicity Symphony Orchestra under Daniel W Boothe.

Thomas Pandolfi plays Piatti’s Bohemian Piano Concerto, accompanied by the Symphonicity Symphony Orchestra under Daniel W Boothe.

Other large-scale works under way

At the same time Polo is working on a range of other large-scale works. He is hoping to complete his new Cello Concerto for the International Composer’s Festival in September 2021, and it was noteworthy that his chief sponsor for this work travelled to Virginia to hear the new piano concerto.

His new Christmas Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra is in discussions to be premiered in Mexico City and plans are in hand for another possible performance in Singapore. He also has requests for a violin concerto and is considering a recent offer to write a ballet score for a Japanese dance company.

Meanwhile the London Mozart Players have begun their residency at his home base of the Opus Theatre in Hastings with an enthusiastically received concert including Mozart’s Piano Concerto K271 with BBC Young Musician 2018, Lauren Zhang, as soloist and the Flute Concerto K313 with local flautist Daisy Noton. On 13 June the LMP will give the premiere of Polo’s multi-faith oratorio Libera Nos. 

The only problem with all of this extra work is that Polo’s opera Marta Hari has been left somewhere on the back-burner. Hopefully once the rain of commissions gives him time he will find a space to complete it. However, with the current pressure of work he is only too happy to be so much in demand. It may lead to a bohemian life but one he is quite happy to accept.


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Posted 18:22 Friday, Dec 6, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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